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Summer travel: wardrobe recommendations 2012/2/22 11:02
Although all of my guidebooks tell me to avoid Honshu in July and August, that's when my daughter has her school break, so that's when we're going. I live in Ohio, USA, which tends to have hot muggy summers, and I think we'll manage, even if it's uncomfortable.

Our itinerary isn't settled yet, but our dates are July 29 - August 11. We'll be in Tokyo, Kyoto, Hiroshima, Miyajima, and we're not sure yet where else or how long we'll be in any given area.

My question has to do with appropriate clothing for the hot weather. My husband and I are both 50ish and wear XL US sizes. We'll be traveling with our daughters (17 and 23)

What would be considered appropriate wear? Should I be planning on skirts (below the knee, very full)? Can I wear capris? If so, is there a style that is considered more appropriate? Does that change for younger women?

I've heard that cleavage isn't generally shown in Japan, which we all can manage. Are there any additional guidelines that we should know?

Should my husband plan on dockers/khakis?

For all of us females, if we are wearing sandals, and need to slip off our shoes to put on slippers, should we carry socks as well?

Thanks for any input you can share!
by bethohio3  

Re: Summer travel: wardrobe recommendations 2012/2/22 11:59
Hi Beth

As long as you are fine with the humidity and temperature you should not worry too much about the clothing :)

Skirts are fine and do not have to be below the knee. Caprrs are totally fine as well. Japanese tend to combine skirts and HotPants with long socks or tights in the winter.
In genereal I would consider (especially younger) japanese ladies to wear sexier stuff than US/Europeans even though that look does not reflect their image.

I guess Japanese would love to show cleavage but honestly speaking this is very hard as most ladies wear a or b cups :) Japanese tend to be a lot more conservative though when it comes to "popping through" nipples. So the rather thick bras here do not only serve the purpose of enhancing the size but rather to prevent the nipples to be seen.

As for your husband: Not topless, everything else is fine :)
by asdf (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Summer travel: wardrobe recommendations 2012/3/12 08:14
My husband and I went to Tokyo and to Kyoto in early August. It is very very hot. Unbelivably so,but we got used to it. The subways are air conditioned. I suggest you buy clothes that wick moisture and do not wrinkle. We got our clothes from REI but many places carry clothes that breathe. You can wear the same things you would wear in a US city. We had sneakers and sandals. We bought cheap small umbrellas when we were there and then threw them away. We also packed light and hand washed things in the sink. The wicking clothes usually dry overnight.
I also bought two loose linen tops.
Make sure you have a light bag, such as a bagellini brand, with lots of pockets.
Try to get in walking shape if you are not already. We ended up walking, whether it be from subway station to subway station or in temples and shops, at least 5 miles a day.
We had an absolutely wonderful time.
by martha (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Summer travel: wardrobe recommendations 2012/3/12 09:57
I'd follow your advice on not having gratuitous cleavage.

Wear comfortable shoes as there can be a lot of walking involved. Some places require slippers - onsen, ryokan etc. If you have an aversion to communal slippers and are wearing sandals, a pair of socks in your bag isn't a bad idea.

Otherwise just follow the bounds of good taste. :)

by girltokyo (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Summer travel: wardrobe recommendations 2012/3/13 15:56
CANNOT stress comfortable walking shoes enough. Make sure they're shoes you have had experience walking for a long time in. Walking, standing, climbing, be sure you know you won't end up blistered or feeling uncomfortable pressure in them.

Also definitely wear breathable clothes, as summer months are incredibly muggy, and in some places it will feel like the air isn't moving at all because of the people (like commonly visited tourist spots).

My general rule is to dress comfortably, but with respect for how I look.
by K (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Summer travel: wardrobe recommendations 2012/3/13 17:28
Hi!
As some people say, it is very hot and humid in summer in Japan. But many local festivals called matusi are held in many areas in summer time.(So if you are lucky, you will have time to see some of these)

Regarding clothing, you don't have to worry about it, many young people here in Japan wear short skirt, pants and sandals.

I think rainy season(usually mid Jun-before summer) will be over, but we sometimes have heavy rain and you might have hard time with sandals.(Also, it is inconvenient if you are visiting shrines)
I will recommend you to bring other shoes besides sandals.
by Coco (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Summer travel: wardrobe recommendations 2012/4/7 10:54
Hope you don't mind if I tack on a question here? I don't want to clutter the forum with another thread when my Q is related...

I am travelling a little earlier - late June/early July and generally planning on packing a mix of loose/breathable items plus a raincoat :) But, it seems as though I may end up going out in the evening with others a couple of times in which case I may want to wear tights (nylons). Are nylons acceptable in the same way as socks in a "shoes-off" kind of place? It probably sounds like a stupid question but I just wanted to check so I don't do something offensive by accident.
by UKTraveller (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Summer travel: wardrobe recommendations 2012/4/9 13:30
I am a mid-forties Western female and can tell you through experience that Japanese women tend to dress very well, conservatively & in a very feminine manner(except for young twenty somethings wearing shorts and mini skirts.)Even in Summer when it is very hot & humid, women wear nylon pantyhose with a suit or skirt and tasteful conservative blouse or dress - to the knee or below. I frequently observe foreign tourists under-dressed and looking sloppy in shorts, tshirts and sandals more suited to a beach resort. Wear quality sandals or comfortable shoes but you will have to take your shoes off, I use little socklets when not wearing pantyhose. I normally wear dresses just below the knee (eg Laura Ashley.)It's easier & more elegant when sitting on the floor than pants.It's easy to get same day dry cleaning if you need this. I also carry a parasol to keep the sun off, it is very common in Japan.
by Lisa (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Summer travel: wardrobe recommendations 2012/4/10 20:05
I suggest you to wear skirts till knee length as summer season is going on so if you want to wear socks with slippers,just go on as it will sav eyou from sunburn and your skin will remain healthy and try to cover your body in summers as mucha s you can as the sun rays can damage our body.
by stephiebrowns rate this post as useful

Re: Summer travel: wardrobe recommendations 2012/4/13 05:47
@Lisa - so nylons/pantyhose/tights are perfectly okay to walk about in indoors at places where shoes have to be removed? Good to know.

I also have some "socklets" I like to wear with trousers sometimes. I hadn't been sure about those either but now I will add them to my packing list as they're cooler than socks.

Thanks for the info!
by UKTraveller (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Summer travel: wardrobe recommendations 2012/4/13 09:22
Bring a handkercheif or two. It'll save you from looking sweaty and flustered.
by Walking book of wise sayings.. (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Summer travel: wardrobe recommendations 2012/4/15 13:07
To Beth & UK Traveller
I cannot stress the value of a buying a parasol in Japan in July/August. I love my black one, it's better than wearing a hat - keeps me cooler and won't mess up my hair.
As for rainy season in June, don't bother taking a raincoat - you'll perspire so much that you'll cook yourself, it's just too warm.
Don't even take an umbrella - you can buy clear plastic umbrellas at convenience stores for a couple of hundred they are on every corner. (Service is so great in Japan depending on where you stay hotels/inns may loan you an umbrella or even drive you to your destination - ryokan staff will always do this.)
When you take your shoes off you are usually provided with slippers - just take them off before stepping onto tatami mats.
You will see socklets sold everywhere in Japan -all sorts of designs and colours - some even have larger sizes for tall women.
I don't know about you ladies but my feet swell after a plane trip & there's also the added humidity to contend with, so be prepared and take a comfortable (I mean broken-in) pair of shoes.
Don't stress, you'll just fall in with love Japan.
by Lisa (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Summer travel: wardrobe recommendations 2012/4/16 06:05
@Lisa - Yeah, my feet swell too after a flight, though they usually get back to normal once I've walked about a bit and then had a good sleep. I am currently breaking in a pair of canvas shoes I want to take precisely so that they're super-comfy by June.

Noted about the raincoat. Maybe I should buy a black umbrella once in Japan and use it as a combination parasol and brolly depending on the weather. That would solve two problems in one.

Very happy to hear socklets are go - they're much quicker to wash and dry than socks. I just wasn't sure if thin foot coverings would be as okay as thicker socks when wearing provided slippers or stepping on tatami.
by UKTraveller (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Summer travel: wardrobe recommendations 2012/4/21 15:58
Great idea Uk-Traveller, my Japanese mother-in-law uses the combo parasol-umbrella that's ideal for rainy season in June (she never leaves home without her brolly) and insisted I carry one as well. You can get folding ones in any of the Department stores in Japan, on the ground floor next to the hosiery.
I receive admiring comments on my beautiful pink rain umbrella - only available in Japan I told them, based on traditional design with flexible & lots of extra spokes but made with modern materials. I might start a collection!
by Lisa (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Summer travel: wardrobe recommendations 2012/4/22 02:30
@Lisa - I know how your M-I-L feels - I live in the North of England and it's rainy season almost 365 days a year here :) I always have a brolly in the car or in my bag.

Maybe you should consider a business exporting the superior pink Japanese umbrella? Considering how badly designed/badly made a lot of Western ones are, they'd probably be popular!
by UKTraveller (guest) rate this post as useful

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